Russia opposes Serbian NATO membership

Serbia’s decision to join NATO would have negative effects on its relations with Russia, Konstantin Kosachev said.

“For us, such a decision would be inexplicable and would have a negative effect on relations between Russia and Serbia,” the Chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs said.

“A possible decision by Serbia to join NATO would mean that the Serbian people accept the NATO action against the former Yugoslavia and accept Kosovo’s independence,” Kosachev said.

He added that the decision to join NATO should be made by the Serbian people, and that “no one should even try to influence that decision.”

“This decision should be made through democratic procedures, and I think that the most democratic procedure – a referendum – would be needed if that question even arose,” he said.

Kosachev also said that Serbia joining the EU would not change relations between Belgrade and Moscow.

“Experience with other Eastern European countries that joined the EU shows us that there is nothing dramatic happening if everything is well prepared and if agreements replaced with other agreements that are compatible with joining the EU,” he said.

He noted that Russia does not recognize the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo, and that he believes that the Council of Europe should deal with human rights, democracy, the election process, and the protection of ehtnic minorities, which he said is all on a very low level in Kosovo.

“This assembly should return to debate about standards, and that could solve the status question as well. Everything else goes completely against Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council,” he said.

Kosachev said that he supports the renewal of talks between Belgrade and Priština on the future status of Kosovo, because “Kosovo has no perspective for UN or Council of Europe membership, and it will never have one.”

“It is not a normal situation, and it could last decades, which does not lead anywhere. That is why I truly support the renewal of negotiations and dialogue,” Kosachev said.

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